Rivers Of Nihil let The Work do the talking

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Jake Dieffenbach is “very, very excited” about his band Rivers Of Nihil‘s new album, The Work. The frontman for the technical death metal band from Reading, Pennsylvania is chatting to me via Zoom and says “We’ve kind of all been anticipating what this album would, you know, what effect it would have on the metal community, let alone with us. It’s been a big deal for us finishing our fourth record, the final season. So we really, really are stoked beyond belief to be back out there and it couldn’t be at a better time everything going on in the world.”

Rivers Of Nihil have never stayed in a particular lane within the death metal genre. They famously introduced saxophone into their music but have also incorporated cello and electronic elements. But, even by their standards, The Work opens up a whole new chapter to the band’s sound. I ask Jake what was the group’s thinking when they first sat down to start making these songs.

“You know, it was that we were going to continue moving forward towards initiating the sound that we were creating. I think it’s important to note where a band fits with their creative potential, our authentic creative expression. And, and we don’t necessarily know entirely what that is, but being honest to the creator approach and being honest to our ability to kind of channel and extract the sounds. And the music that we put on this record shows an obvious progression. And we knew it was different. We know the expectations of the metal world and the expectation of what a band is meant to do, you know, with their product and kind, like you said, we’ve always been pushing that. We don’t want to be just settling with one album sound and then thinking that we can just continue making that same sound forever. We are a band that are saturated with the live feeling and invoking of emotions through our music and we can’t be subject to doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Having saxophone, cello and other musical elements in their sound is part of what helps Rivers Of Nihil stand out in the death metal scene, but how far do they want to go with that kind of experimentation?

“I think the adding to the elements is delivered in the authentic nature of what the music is telling us as it’s being composed. Now, what I’m saying is we know that people love the fact that there are certain elements on the last record that wasn’t on the record before. And we have that in mind to kind of keep it relevant and kind of incorporate it on our next record. But that isn’t the sole characteristic that is moving our creative potential forward. Maybe it’s outside of my knowledge because I’m not really the writer here, but I will say that we are vastly open to things that we have always connected through. Always trying to find a way that we can express the nature of our own emotion through those places that we have visited before, places that we have been in our past and find a way to articulate the current state of events through a musical soundscape that holds the nostalgia of certain elements, certain instruments in place, in an inappropriate way. It’s more about the appropriation of the emotion than it is about, oh, we gotta have that instrument. It’s kind of like following the pulse, you know, and the pulse kind of tells you what may be needed from one to the next. And maybe it’s something that we didn’t know, you know, maybe something that we had no idea that we were going to do until we’re there recording it.

Rivers Of Nihil will play Montreal’s Club Soda on October 7th alongside The Black Dahlia Murder, After The Burial, Carnifex and Undeath.

Jake is looking forward to being back out on tour again. “We’re all really excited to be there. It’s going to celebrate music, it’s going to celebrate, not just the release of her album, but just music in general. I think that’s really important.”


The Work is out via Metal Blade Records on September 24 2021

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